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"Media Trash-Wagon Hitched to the Hikoi"

"Media Trash-Wagon Hitched to the Hikoi"

The relentless media bashing that people participating in a peaceful Hikoi received for walking over a bridge was disgraceful. The alleged nuisance that this 2-hour walk would supposedly cause locals was just too much for some to bear, including Auckland Mayor John Banks who called those participating "a bunch of koha chasing losers".

Have we forgotten the facts? Many Maori have been fighting for valid rights and a fair pathway to justice in their own country for decades. Maori families were literally steamrolled off land and had resources confiscated that the Crown promised to protect. What level of inconvenience and discomfort have generations of Maori families had to live with? Somewhat more, compared with the 2-hour traffic inconvenience that never eventuated, but sent people like Banks over the edge.

In 2004, for those who at least seek to understand our history as a nation, the depth of injustice can only really register in theory. But for many Maori the burden remains very, very real. And while that burden can sometimes spill over into anger and sadly even incidents of aggression, the principle aim of this Hikoi is just.

After all, the Crown still fails to honour the promises it made to te iwi Maori - promises that validated the Crown's right to govern from 1840 to the present day. This is a fact many within our nation would rather not face up to, simply because they are afraid of what it might mean. The general perception is that recognition of any form of Maori rights equates to 'loss'- that we as individuals and as a nation stand to lose something if Maori rights were justly afforded.

This perception is wrong but until the Crown decides to respect and honour its Treaty obligations in a fair way, and in a way that does not compromise the rights of present and future New Zealanders, our country will remain hamstrung by this Treaty issue.

The issue is not about Maori vs. Pakeha as it wasn't Maori and Pakeha who entered the treaty, but rather the Crown and Maori. If the Crown, represented by our current government does not respect mutually agreed covenant rights of Maori, what makes the rest of New Zealand believe that our human rights as individuals and as a nation are safe?

The Foreshore and Seabed policy has been condemned from many quarters, from the business sector, the Waitangi Tribunal and even the Church, simply because it fails to deliver on its Treaty promises. Dictating a policy direction to Maori without genuine consideration only deepens the burden and weight of injustice, which by its very nature will demand appeasement - if not in this generation, then the next.

Destiny NZ supports the principle aim of the Hikoi and those who are involved with sincere and peaceful intentions. Hopefully, New Zealanders can set aside preconceived opinions in order to understand what it means for those who now feel they have no other choice but to take their message to the streets, and to allow this hikoi to continue without getting on board the media trash-wagon.

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